James Spann: Alabama warming trend continues into early next week

FINE JANUARY DAY: Temperatures are in the 50s across central Alabama this afternoon with a good supply of sunshine; tonight will be fair and not as cold as recent nights, with a low in the 30- to 36-degree range for most places. Colder spots will drop below freezing.

FRIDAY AND THE WEEKEND: Friday will be a partly sunny day with a mild afternoon; the high will be close to 60 degrees. The warm-up continues Saturday with a mix of sun and clouds and afternoon temperatures in the mid 60s. On Sunday, the sky will be mostly cloudy with a chance of scattered showers — nothing too heavy or widespread, and the weather stays mild, with a high in the mid to upper 60s.

NEXT WEEK: The weather will be unsettled for the first half of the week with occasional showers, and possibly a thunderstorm, as a surface front hangs up just north of the state and a moist air mass stays in place. Highs will be pretty close to 70 degrees Monday through Wednesday for a nice preview of spring. Colder air begins to return Thursday with rain ending during the day, and Friday looks cool and dry.

FRIGID AIR UP NORTH: Chicago remains below zero this afternoon; O’Hare Airport reported minus 6 degrees at 3 p.m. But tomorrow the temperature finally climbs above zero, with a high near 20 degrees. Mount Carroll, Illinois, dropped to minus 38 this morning, which, if certified, would be a state record for coldest temperature.

A volunteer National Weather Service weather observer in Cotton, Minnesota, measured minus 56 this morning. The next coldest in Minnesota was minus 50 in Kabetogama.

ON THIS DATE IN 1989: The barometric pressure at Norway, Alaska, reached 31.85 inches (1,078.4 mb) establishing an all-time record for the North American continent. The temperature at the time of the record was about 46 degrees below zero. Severe arctic cold began to invade the north central United States. The temperature at Grand Fall, Montana, plunged 85 degrees in 36 hours. Valentine, Nebraska, plummeted from a record high of 70 degrees to zero in just nine hours. Northwest winds gusted to 86 mph at Lander, Wyoming, and wind chill readings of 80 degrees below zero were reported in Montana. Sixty-four cities in the central U.S. reported record highs for the date as readings reached the 60s in Michigan and the 80s in Kansas.

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